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The 13 most interesting parts of Snap’s IPO filing

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Written by Kamil Arli

Mashable Columnist KARISSA BELL listed  13 weird things we learned from Snap’s IPO filing

 Snap’s big day has arrived and we have already learned so much more about the company.

Following months of speculation, the company has finally filed paperwork for its initial public offering. With the paperwork comes a more detailed look at the inner workings of the notoriously secretive company than we’ve ever seen before.

THE IPO FILING DOESNT DISAPPOINT

Here’s a look at the wonderfully weird, interesting and surprising things we saw in Snap’s IPO filing.

1. Snap wants to be kind — in a dickish way

Snap describes its culture as “kind” but notes that sometimes brutal honesty is the best policy (emphasis our own).

Our team is kind, smart, and creative. When we say “kind,” we mean the type of kindness that compels you to let someone know that they have something stuck in their teeth even though it’s a little awkward. We care deeply about kindness because we want to create a space that helps to give our team the courage to create.

Well, okay, then.

2. Is 💩ing with your smartphone good for advertising?

The section on ads suggests that we’re so addicted to our phones we can’t even go poop without them.

We believe that one of the biggest opportunities in mobile advertising is the ability to serve advertisements that are personal and respectful of context. Advertising is more effective and less wasteful when paired with the right contextual understanding. Smartphones can achieve this because they are personal in a way that other forms of media will never be—we eat, sleep, and poop with our smartphones every day. They can also understand the world around them, such as where they are and how fast they are moving.

3. Spiegel and Murphy control everything (and probably always will)

Together, Spiegel and cofounder Bobby Murphy have complete control of the company with 21.8 percent of the company’s stock each. While that’s not necessarily surprising, the filing notes that even if one of the cofounders dies or otherwise becomes incapacitated, the other founder “could individually control nearly all of the voting power of our outstanding capital stock.”

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4. Snapchat’s confusing design is a feature not a bug

Long one of the most criticized aspects of the app, the filing confirms that Snapchat’s design is intentionally confusing (emphasis added.)

Even when we have the right solution, it’s often in the form of a new product that might take a while for our community to learn how to use. Just because products are sometimes confusing when they’re new doesn’t mean we are going to stop building innovative products for our community. Part of the joy of using Snapchat is discovering new features and learning how to use all of the products that we create.

5. Snapchat users send billions of snaps a day

Snapchat’s users are busy. The app’s 158 million daily users send, on average, over more than 2.5 billion snaps a day as of the end of the fourth quarter of 2016.

6. When Snap admits it used to be known as a sexting app

When we were just getting started, many people didn’t understand what Snapchat was and said it was just for sexting, even when we knew it was being used for so much more. We think this was because deletion by default was an unusual concept compared to what was standard at the time, so it took time for people to understand that we were trying to solve a problem that many people didn’t realize they had.

7. Spiegel’s personal security is expensive AF

Snap spent more than $328,000 in 2015 and nearly $900,000 in 2016 on Spiegel’s personal security. But that’s probably because the CEO gets a lot of death threats. “Mr. Spiegel and Mr. Murphy are high profile individuals who have received threats in the past and are likely to continue to receive threats in the future.”

8. Don’t expect to see a “send to all” button

Though many users may like to see a “send to all” button that allows them to send a snap to all their friends with just one touch, Snap says it has a good reason not to make such a feature available. Simply put, the company is worried it might encourage spam thus “ruining what made Snapchat personal and fun.”

9. Stories wasn’t an instant hit

Stories, which first launched in 2013, took awhile to catch on.”When we first launched Stories, they weren’t very popular. Back then, fewer than ten million Snaps were added to Stories every day,” the filing says.

But Snap decided to press on, a move that eventually paid off as Stories is now one of the most popular parts of the app. More than 25 percent of Snapchat’s daily active users post Snaps to their Stories every day, according to the company.

10. Snap spent less on Bitstrips than we thought

While Snap’s acquisition of Bitmoji maker Bitstrips last year was reported to be valued at about $100 million, Snap’s IPO filing reveals that the deal was actually worth $64.2 million. The company’s acquisition of Looksery, the Ukrainian startup whose technology powers Snapchat’s lenses, was worth significantly more at just over $150 million.

11. How much is a Snapchat user worth?

As of the fourth quarter of 2016, the average revenue per user was $1.05, up more than three times from the 31 cents per user in the last quarter of 2015. (Facebook, by comparison, makes $4.83 per user.)

12. Android needs love, too

If you’ve used Snapchat on both iOS and Android then you’ve probably noticed the app doesn’t work quite as well on Android. Turns out this isn’t in your head. The company says it has prioritized iOS as it has more users on the platform but notes that future growth will depend on Android, as well.

The majority of our user engagement is on smartphones with iOS operating systems. As a result … we have prioritized development of our products to operate with iOS operating systems rather than smartphones with Android operating systems. To continue growth in user engagement, we will need to prioritize development of our products to operate on smartphones with Android operating systems.

13. There’s now a Snap Foundation 

Spiegel and Murphy have created a new Snap Foundation to “support arts, education and youth.” Each founder has promised to donate as much as as 13 million shares of common stock to the initiative over the next 20 years.

About the author

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Kamil Arli

Editor of DigitalReview.co. Digital Media Consultant

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